Steve appeared with the Beatles on their last British tour, in 1964, which, with only nine appearances, became their short shortest theatre tour of Britain.
He later became a publican.
The Poppies were a trio, managed by Roger McGough. Other black vocal groups included the Sobells and the Challengers.
I appeared on the TV documentary ‘Who Put The Beat In Mersey Beat’ some years ago, which depicted the influence of black music on Merseyside. The website Soulpool is also devoted to Liverpool’s black music history. Another unsung Mersey doo wop group was the Valentinos, led by the legendary Sugar Deen. The other members were Vinnie Ishmael, Tony Faye and Laurence Areety. Colin Areety was another talented Liverpool vocalist.
The reprints look great. I'll be ordering a few of those. I have to say that the 60-62 era of the Beatles story is the most intriguing for me. It might be because it was the period that I can relate to the most. It's the time when the Beatles were trying to make it in the music world. That's where I've been stuck as a musician for 30 years now.
My Wife and I visited Liverpool 20 years ago during our honeymoon in London. We took the train, which gave me that ‘Hard Days Night’ feel. After getting off the train we were standing on a street corner looking at our map when an older lady shuffled over and asked "can I help you find something, love?" My first thought was that this isn't New York, where in the same situation we might have been beaten with a handbag and then robbed!
We visited the Beatles Museum, which at the time was called ‘Beatle City’. Afterwards we rode the Magical Mystery Tour Bus to Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, three Beatle homes and the like. I purchased two squares of the original seat covering from the Bus for one pound each. They were in little bags with a serial number on them. If an original Mersey Beat is going for 25 thousand, maybe my seat material is worth... NOT FOR SALE!!!
We did some antique shopping after the Beatles Experience and brought home two mantle clocks. We carried them back on the train and underground in what would now be considered suspicious looking burlap bags. Every time I hear Gerry and the Pacemakers "Ferry Cross the Mersey" I get a special feeling because of my chance to visit the wonderful city of Liverpool.
(Dear Rick, Thanks for mentioning that a copy of Issue 13 sold for $25,000 in March 2006. Replica copies of Issue No. 13 are now available on
www.rockandpopshop.com for only £4.99. Actually, Beatles City was a different museum, prior to the current the Beatles Story in the Albert Dock.)
I was the bass player for a group called Johnny and Mike with the Shades. We were regular BBC Saturday Club performers and Brian Matthew, the host, always called us Johnny, Mike and the Shades. We played at the Cavern several times, once backing the Vernon Sisters. We were well known to the Beatles and in fact Brian Epstein tried to buy us from Jack Fallon of the CANA Variety Agency in London but sadly he wouldn't sell.
I am told we are listed on the ‘Wall of Fame’ at the ‘New’ Cavern. The reference may be to ‘The Shades’" because I remember that's how we were always advertised when playing at the Cavern but I am told it is the full group name.
We were mentioned in the August 29 - September 12 1963 "Mersey Beat" in the Roundabout Manchester section (I think that's what it was called). Do you have any other references to our band in your magazine archives and if so could you please tell me where I could look at them?
At age 63 I am trying to put together some history for my children before it's too late. I am originally from Solihull, now West Midlands but formally Warwickshire.